Published in Red Rocks Community College's literary magazine Obscura Fall 2006
|The Butch and I
While I listened to my mom’s voice, I stared at Gwen. She stood smoking just past the light coming from the back door of the restaurant, listening to my one-sided conversation. When I came back outside, I could see the anger crackle like lightning across her eyes.
“Why didn’t you tell her?” Gwen demanded.
“I didn’t want to tell my mom tonight. It just isn’t the right way to do this.”
“What way is the right way? All ways are going to suck. Stop talking about it and do it.” She violently drew on her cigarette and hissed smoke out.
“What is the big hurry anyway? I said I would tell them about being gay and about us, and I will, just not yet.” I tried to avoid eye contact. Gwen flicked her cigarette into the smoldering butt can and came toward me.
She stopped right in front of me, “I thought you should know that I told my mom about us today.”
“You did what?”
“She said, and I quote, ‘why can’t you just be normal friends like everyone else? I don’t understand why there has to be a sexual relationship between the two of you anyway?’ Then she turned the TV back on and stopped talking to me.” Gwen’s eyes glistened with injured pride. I reached out with my hand and touched her sleeve to try to comfort her. She shrugged me off and turned away.
“I don’t know what the fuck I expected.” Imitating her mother’s voice, Gwen said, “Oh Gwenny, I knew you were that way ever since you were a little girl and I love you just the way you are. I just want you to be happy. Well, fuck that!” She finished by kicking a golf ball sized rock at the side of the supply shed. A thundering echo followed the impact, drawing the attention of the other employees inside the restaurant.
“She’ll come around, Gwen. She loves you. You’ve got to have faith in that.”
“Faith? You want to know what I have faith in, Penee K? I have faith in the fact that you love me and I love you back. I have faith in the fact that people are going to hate us for that love and I even have faith in the fact that people hating me, for being me, is never going to change. I just don’t know how much fucking good it’s going to do us. Now, come on, we’re out of weed.” She stomped all the way to my Kia, got in, and slammed the door.
After we made our ganja stop and got our heads taken care of, we made another stop to pick up some hot & spicy Mexican food. I took the food in the car and went back to my friend’s apartment as Gwen followed on her motorcycle.
“Home, sweet home. Or should it be, sofa, sweet sofa?” I asked, shaking my head at the cat hair that covered the sofa that was going to be my bed for awhile.
“It’s not like you have any other choice.” Gwen said as she sat down on my pseudo bed and put her feet on the coffee table in front of it.
“I know,” I sat down beside her to unload the food. I handed her some napkins and her order. “What am I going to tell my parents, Gwen?”
“The same thing I told my mom. ‘Mom, I’m gay and I’m in love.” She turned to smother her crispy tacos with her favorite fiery salsa.
“I can’t just call my mom out of the blue and tell her that I’m a lesbian,” I whined.
“Why not?” She set down her half-eaten taco and turned back to wiggle her eyebrows suggestively at me. “You are, aren’t you?”
I smiled back, in spite of myself. “Where would I start? There are a million things to say and nothing is coming out right.”
“First, calm down. It’s not that bad” she said. “You and I are worth fighting for so you have to be strong when some of those fights are hard.” Gwen pushed the hair behind my left ear and kissed my mouth. The remnants of the salsa burned my lips.
“Yes, we are worth fighting for,” I said, my words shook, having her so intimately close made it hard to breathe. “I just don’t know where to start.” So many different, terrible things that could happen kept running through my mind.
“Why don’t you try writing a letter?” Gwen suggested.
“Write a letter? Isn’t that a little impersonal?” I couldn’t help but look at her lips as she wiped them with her napkin and sat back on the couch.
“No I don’t think so. Not for something as serious as dashing all of your parents hopes and dreams for you against the rocks by telling them you’re a flaming homosexual.” She laughed at the look on my face.
“Gwen!” I couldn’t help but laugh with her.
“No seriously, by writing a letter you’ll be able to edit it so that it says what you want it to say, without being interrupted, and it will keep you from saying things you don’t really mean. You can’t edit your mouth and take back stupid, you know?”
I picked up her hand and intertwined her fingers with mine. “Will you help me write it?”
“No honey.” She shook her head and smiled at me, “I’m going to leave that to you. You’ll know exactly what to say.” She kissed me again. “I’ve gotta go home. I told my mom we would go out for our weekly dinner tonight.”
“But you already ate,” I said, glancing at the empty Styrofoam container on the table.
“I know, it just means I’ll save her some money. As pissed off as she is at me, I think it will be alright. I love you, beautiful girl.”
“I love you too.” I held tightly to her hand and forced her to look down at me as she stood, waiting to leave.
“I’ll call you when I can sneak you into the house tonight.” She grabbed her helmet and bent down to kiss me good-bye one more time then left out the front door. I laughed, my enchiladas were getting cold but I wasn’t hungry anymore. I knew exactly what I was going to say to my parents and couldn’t wait to get it on paper. I dug in the couch for a pen and smoothed out a clean napkin.
—Hi Mom, guess what?